Laurel Leader

Reservoir High students shine in business competition | NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

Clubs and high school organizations have found creative ways to continue meeting during this unusual school year.

The Future Business Leaders of America is one of those groups and held its state conference from April 10 to 17. Reservoir High School students made an excellent showing at this virtual event. Sophomore Yuanchu Kambon and junior Joshua Hirschfeld placed second overall in their respective competitive events.


Joshua is the current chief financial officer and president-elect of Reservoir FBLA. He informed me about the phenomenal work he did for the regional conference.

He competed in the sales presentation event, where he had seven minutes to deliver an interactive sales presentation to a panel of judges, who were serving as potential clients and investors, on a product of his choosing.


“I decided to pitch Amtrak Acela as a business travel solution for businesses based in the Northeast,” Joshua said. “Originally, I had created my sales presentation to be used as part of an assignment for [educator and FBLA adviser Debra Dear] marketing class. I prepared for it by conducting research on the benefits of train travel over other methods, then used that information and data to create an informative and engaging slide presentation that paired with the sales pitch I had written out.

“I did many practice runs on my own before delivering it to the class, and did so well on it that Ms. Dear convinced me to enter the presentation for the FBLA regional conference. I spent the days leading up to the conference fine-tuning and updating my presentation, almost up to the last minute. It ended up being a worthwhile venture, as I placed second in the regional conference, which allowed me to compete at the state conference, where I also got second place.”

Yuanchu’s competition was Introduction to public speaking. She described the process she used for preparing for her event.

“I started off researching; I wanted to incorporate current topics to make it interesting,” she said. “The hardest part about preparing for my competition was actually delivering the speech. This was my first time having to give an actual speech, so it took a lot of practice and memorization. I taught myself a memorization technique called ‘building a mind palace’ to help me remember my speech perfectly. I practiced for countless hours reciting the speech while going through the mind palace in my head until delivering it felt like second nature.”

Joshua had kind words for Dear. “Without the aid and guidance that both Yuanchu and myself got from Ms. Dear and the courses she teaches, neither of us would have been able to do as well as we did at the state conference.”

Both students now will have the opportunity to represent Maryland and the Reservoir community at the FBLA National Conference being held virtually in June, where students from across the nation country and the world come together to learn about business and leadership, network with each other, and compete to win scholarships and cash prizes across a variety of competitive events.

Senior Disha Sanwal is also to be commended for her work. She earned an honorable mention in her event.

According to the website,, “Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda Inc. is the largest career student business organization in the world. Each year, [it] helps over 230,000 members prepare for careers in business.”


The goal of the organization is to “inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders in a global society through relevant career preparation and leadership experiences.”

At Reservoir, FBLA is open to all students even if they do not have an interest in business because the club works to provide many opportunities to gain skills and have valuable experiences outside of a typical business environment. This popular club at Reservoir, advised by Dear, typically attracts a large number of students.

You may have heard that Howard County has canceled traditional proms for high school seniors. The PTSA at Reservoir has offered to sponsor a senior formal on from 8 to 11 p.m. May 18 at Bleues on the Water in Glen Burnie.

The venue has indoor and outdoor areas, a beach area, gazebo and patio. Gators Under the Stars is the theme and students will be asked to “dress to impress.” A DJ and prizes throughout the night are planned. Reservations and volunteers are needed. Go to COVID-19 precautions will be taken according to the Howard County Public School System guidelines, though the event is not sponsored by the system. Members of the PTSA have worked hard to make this event memorable and safe for the students and their guests.

Graduation plans are in place for Howard County seniors. In-person ceremonies will be held at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia. The school system’s website reports that “graduations will be available for viewing live online and on-demand following each ceremony. Local health metrics will be monitored prior to each ceremony and if deemed necessary, events will be held virtually and an appropriate announcement will be made.”

Plans for our neighborhood schools are: Atholton at 7 p.m. June 1; Reservoir High School at 11 a.m. June 3; Hammond High School at 11 a.m. June 4.


Contact North Laurel/Savage columnist Christina Hyder at